1. Create a compelling experience  

incremental product information, engaging videos, exclusive deals, upgrades, a

coupon, or other purchase incentive. And allow them to take action – have them

enter a sweepstakes, request a product sample, or some other end goal. You are

asking them to activate your ad and spend time with your brand, so give them a

good reason to do it the first time and then a great experience so they’ll do it again.

2. Tell consumers why and how to engage 

Once you have a compelling experience to share with the consumer, make sure to tell them about why and how do activate the code. The why can be as simple as “Scan for more info,” “Scan for a chance to win,” or “Scan to get the video”. For the how , include concise instructions for downloading the appropriate reader application like “Get the free mobile app at http://xxxx.com” and/or provide instructions for snap and send capabilities if the code provider allows consumers to take a photo of the code and send it via MMS (e.g. “Snap a photo and send it to XXXXX”). Remember, mobile barcodes may be unfamiliar to some consumers so they need to know why they should scan and how to scan.

3. Set up your campaign to collect meaningful data

Consider what you want to measure up front, think about your objectives and make sure that your code campaign is setup to capture the data that you will want to analyze. Are you trying to drive frequency? Then be sure you are capturing repeat uses from the same user. Are you trying to drive sales through couponing? Be sure you are measuring conversions from the scan to the coupon to the point of sale redemption. Knowing what success will look like up front will help ensure that you are capturing the right data and that you will get the insights you are trying to capture.

4. How to measure success 

Since mobile barcode campaigns capture valuable customer data, consider how you want to use your metrics, such as incorporating mobile barcode campaign data into your CRM system for deeper analysis. Making mobile barcodes a standard component of your integrated campaigns will help you track and trend campaigns, giving you new understandings over time.  Further, scans should not be the sole measurement of a campaign’s success. It’s also important to evaluate what a scan means in the context of your campaign. For example, some marketers only measure the number of scans while others heavily instrument their campaigns to understand if the scans are leading to conversion or customer loyalty. In some cases, you may see fewer scans, but they are higher quality scans.

5. Consider the life cycle of your code campaign 

Your code may be in market before or after you anticipate starting the campaign or launching the content that it will connect to. Be sure to plan for the experience

before or after the campaign. For example, if the campaign is over and you have

packaging or advertising still in the market, you might want to change the code to

point new messaging like, “Sorry this campaign is over, but go here for other

programs and offers www.xxxxxx.com/offers .”

6. Optimize for mobile 

environment. Linking users to standard websites is likely to lead to frustration on a small screen. Make sure anything you are pointing to is mobile optimized. Note that many common social networks like Facebook and YouTube offer mobile formatted content. Test on various devices, carriers, and operating systems.

7. Reduce the complexity of your code 

Some formats, like direct QR Codes, can become very complex in appearance and be harder to scan if you are embedding a lot of data (like a long URL). To reduce the size of the encoded information and as such the size of the code, adjust the error correction level (for QR Codes only), use a URL shortener, small vanity URL,or a managed service/marketing platform that handles this for you.

8. Provide quiet space around the code 

Many mobile barcodes must have a white or near white border around the code to ensure it remains readable, and you should test the code before using it to confirm it scans correctly. White space may also help make the code more noticeable for consumers. Refer to your specific code or provider for info.

9. Chose the correct size for the code 

Be sure to reference your specific code guidelines, but as a general rule of thumb,codes should be at least ¾” plus any necessary quiet space as referenced above.  They can be bigger, much bigger in fact. When deciding how big to print your code, consider the Five Times Rule: the distance that the user will be scanning should be about Five Times the size of the code. For example, if the user will be 5” away from the code (like on a print ad or packaging), then the code should be about 1”. If the user is going to be 5’ away from the code (like on sign at an event), then the code should be about 1’. Again, the best way to know that you got it right, is to test, test, test.

10. Place the code where it can be easily scanned 

Make sure that the code is in a place that can easily be scanned and where internet access will be available. Don’t put the code on a sign one foot off of the ground. If it’s on signage, place it as close to eye level or shoulder height as possible. Also, avoid overly shiny and reflective surfaces, as this could make your code hard to read. Ok, we’ll say it again here, test, test, test.

11. Test the code 

Last and absolutely not least, we cannot stress this one enough – be sure to test your code on the final surface and in the conditions you anticipate that consumers will be scanning under on multiple devices. If it will be in a dimly lit bar, test in a dimly lit room, if it will be on packaging, try to get samples of the package to test as soon as you can. Test on multiple devices, carriers and operating systems.